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The cloud in mobility use cases

Rupert Murdoch's News Corp. launched the first iPad-only newspaper - The Daily - last week with the idea of targeting the growing segment of people around the world who are educated and sophisticated who would expect content to be delivered anywhere anytime, without having to be tethered to a physical newspaper or the television. Businesses today have realized the need to exploit mobile devices to target a wide and sophisticated market place. The industry is witnessing a scramble to join the bandwagon called the mobile device enablement (hardware, software, networking etc) and servicing industry. The need to be one-up in a new and highly competitive industry has spawned solutions that enable more and more complex use cases around mobile devices. Most use cases typically involve some sort of collaboration. With mobile devices being pervasive and in the hands of a growing knowledgeable user base, there is a need for the backend to support the potentially massive but varying scalability needs -   what better than cloud computing to do the trick.

Every day, there are more and more innovative mobile applications being developed which in turn, excite more people to hook on to mobile devices to experience them. It is important to realize that the majority of such applications being used today are "connected". Though there are mobile applications that provide single user games, check and feedback on an individual's pulse rates etc. what keeps users hooked to applications are those that provide some sort of interactivity with the external world - browsing the internet, face book, twitter, movie ticket bookings, multi-user games etc. Most applications are thus going to make use of services out there in the internet. Considering that these services are going to be consumed by mobile device applications, it is important that services remain connected and scale easily. The phone is pervasive and the cloud provides the scale that needs to support this pervasiveness with lots of apps running on this phone.

"The Daily" is the latest example of how the News and Publishing industry is trying to exploit the iPad's popularity for new sources of revenue (online advertisements to a large base). "The Daily" is attempting to grab market share by focusing on video and graphics that can be manipulated using the iPad's touch screen and photos that offer 360-degree, panoramic views at the swipe of a finger. Going forward, as the number of subscribers to this service increase, there will be a need to scale to account for peak connections and yet maintain the experience - something that a cloud based solution can help achieve. Additionally, there will be a need to scale storage as news material is churned out by the hour in video, audio, text and other formats. Adopting the cloud for scale and infrastructure needs will allow IT teams to focus on considering ways to enhance news delivery and end user experience to stay ahead of competitors like "The New York Times", "USA Today" and others.

Skype, the popular voice communication service, is considered to be offered through cloud computing. Considering that Skype Mobile is getting more and more popular with people using Skype to communicate using smartphones, the move to the cloud will facilitate the need to scale as more and more people collaborate. On Skype, it is probably not important where the processing takes place .Rather, for the average Skype user, it is the ability to communicate quickly, accurately, and for a relatively low cost that makes it a useful tool.

Multi-player mobile online games (iPhone's Galcon etc) are also gaining in popularity. Such games often establish massive multi user mobile virtual communities. In some games, players of the game can select a virtual persona for themselves and inhabit and live in a simulated virtual world. When navigating through the virtual world, users can contact and interact directly with other players in real time, have live real time chats with other human players, interactively co-operate with others to solve certain tasks etc. To achieve a seamless experience, what this would basically require is  mobile devices containing high end processors ( ARM's Cortex-A9 multicore processors for example),high speed modern wireless networking technologies (3G, 4G) and backend scalability requirements handled in a cloud-based infrastructure architecture

Smartphones and other mobile devices are well on the path to becoming an integral part of a user's life in connecting him with people, information and the world. With the massive growth in the mobile device enablement(hardware, software) and service industry, in addition to the use cases of a phone or a laptop, devices today are equipped with gaming, social networking, photography, health, banking & payments, learning, productivity and other diverse  applications. Juniper Research expects the total market for cloud-based mobile apps to grow 88 percent between 2009 and 2014. Marrying cloud computing with the mobile application industry will enable exploration of new and exciting use cases - not withstanding device challenges like processing power, form factor, hardware design, software compatibility and network interoperability limitations

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